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Tuesday 22 October 2019

Dear Mary: 'Will I ever win the heart of my lesbian friend?'

Dear Mary: 'Will I ever win the heart of my lesbian friend?'
Dear Mary: 'Will I ever win the heart of my lesbian friend?'

Mary O'Conor

I've been in a relationship for six years, however it's been rocky a lot of the time but I do love her. The problem I'm facing is that I'm not sure if I'm still in love with her.

 There are many things that have made our relationship difficult in the past such as two unexpected miscarriages, where we were unaware she was pregnant until they happened. Many arguments over very small things that shouldn't be a problem plague us on a weekly, and sometimes daily, basis. Communication is a problem for my girlfriend who doesn't like to talk about her feelings. In the last year things have been even more strained.

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I thought we were clear about what we wanted, mortgage, marriage etc. Then I started a new job last year and met someone, let's call her Maureen. I wasn't attracted to her at all but we got on very well. As time passed we got closer and closer, we are so similar in almost every way possible. I can talk to her in ways I could only dream of talking to my girlfriend. In the last year myself and Maureen are so close, I'd consider her my best friend except I've developed feelings I know I shouldn't have. Things are more complicated by the fact that Maureen is gay, which makes me feel like a complete idiot because I know it can't work, but I can't stop thinking about her. She initially said that she was bisexual but claimed it was only so she wouldn't be judged. I care about her a great deal, not just because I have feelings for her but she's been really good to me. I know she is gay, I know it's not going to happen but does this mean I should walk away from my girlfriend? I tell Maureen everything and she thinks we should break up. Part of me hopes it's because she's hiding feelings for me, although I'm old enough to know better. I'm so torn, I'm crazy about a girl that is gay and still love my girlfriend who I don't want to hurt. I genuinely don't know what to do, I've tried to talk it out with my girlfriend and nothing changes. Am I doomed or just a coward?

AYou are neither of these things. You are trying to sort out your feelings and they are getting all muddled because you want Maureen to want you in the same way that you want her. But that is never going to happen - she only told you at the beginning that she was bi-sexual so that you wouldn't judge her, but now feels comfortable enough to let you see the real her. She is gay and proud to be. As such she will be looking for a female partner, not you, a male, who has become a very good friend to her and who confides in her about his love life.

There is nothing wrong with you having such a great friendship with Maureen, except for the fact that you fancy her in a sexual way. This is being unfair to your girlfriend, because while you fantasise about what might happen with Maureen, even though you know it cannot, you are not comparing like with like.

We never get everything we need from a partner - that's why we have various friends who fill our different needs, and we do the same for them. For instance, your girlfriend finds it difficult to speak about feelings, whereas Maureen obviously doesn't, but then you have a sex life with your girlfriend and you don't - and never will - with Maureen.

You will have to ask yourself if Maureen was not in your life, would you still be living with your girlfriend? You have been through a lot together - the miscarriages must have been particularly traumatic for you both - and six years is a long time. You have built a life and a lifestyle together with friends and shared interests and that would all change if you ended the relationship. How would you feel without her and how strongly do you want to fight for the relationship to be better? You are actually hurting her right now by devoting yourself and your thoughts so much to Maureen, so it is time for you to make up your mind about what you want to do. At the very least, you should suggest counselling to her, in order to try to make things better between you with regard to communication.

You service your car every year, so why not look upon counselling as a way of servicing the relationship in order to try to improve it. At least it will help you decide what to do one way or another. But remember, Maureen will never be anything other than a close friend in whom you can confide.

You can contact Mary O’Conor anonymously by visiting or email her at or write c/o 27-32 Talbot Street, Dublin 1. All correspondence will be treated in confidence. Mary O’Conor regrets that she is unable to answer any questions privately.

Sunday Independent

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